Getting good and getting a dream job

dream job depicted by a laptop with a code editor open
Photo by Christopher Gower on Unsplash

Now that we’re coming close to the end of 2017, I’ve been thinking about my career and careers in general. Having begun my career as a software engineer about a year ago, I thought it’d be timely and useful to do some reflection.

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Nike shoes designer Tinker Hatfield on design

tinker hatfield
Tinker Hatfield and one of the sneakers he designed (I’d be surprised if that assumption is wrong)

I recently re-started to organise what my good friend Kegan and I call “docu-nights” where we watch a documentary film together at my place. There’s never an awkward obligation to sit together and engage in intellectual conversations after these films, but we often wax philosophical in areas unrelated to the film anyway.

This post is my notes from an evening spent watching Abstract: The Art of Design season 1 episode 2 about the designs of Tinker Hatfield.

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Litmus test for having enough rest

laptop and cup of cappuccino on wooden table
Photo by Nolan Issac on Unsplash

I turn to coffee when I’m tired and still have some time left in the day to work. But when I brew or order that cup of coffee in a situation like that, I know I’m drinking for utility, not enjoyment.

“But you can enjoy a cup of coffee and get the caffeine kick from it”, I hear you say. And I fully agree with that. But I’m always able to recognise the trigger for wanting coffee, and the trigger for me to drink coffee these days is almost always sleepiness or fatigue. On days like these, coffee is just a tasty drug for boosting my energy levels (to be paid back later).

So when I’m feeling sluggish, I turn to coffee.

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How to know you are a junior developer

two people in boots standing with sand suspended around their feet
Photo by Gili Benita on Unsplash

Today I heard a hilarious way of benchmarking one’s noob-ness in the tech industry as a developer. It was a passing comment by my friend Terence over a beer this lovely evening when we were talking about our fledgling careers in tech.

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A trick to catalyse progress

cute child boy standing at the foot of a huge flight of stairs
Photo by Mikito Tateisi on Unsplash

Making progress is hard. Inertia can kill a project before it even begins.

But when we finally muster the courage to set time aside, subdue all distractions and create that first piece of work, it’s hard to hide our pride.

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Fierce and original in our work

hand reaching towards the sun in a jungle
Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash

A couple of weeks ago, I shared a wonderful quote with my friend Kai over a bathroom conversation:

“Be steady and well-ordered in your life so that you can be fierce and original in your work.” (Gustave Flaubert, French author in the late 1800s)

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Generalist vs Specialist

I had an interesting conversation with my friend Rama today. We talked about many things, from management to meditation, creating music to digging shell scrapes. The most interesting topic that we explored was the idea of a generalist versus a specialist.

table with laptops and an empty chair
Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

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